Biogen Idec chief warns drug development could be hurt by cuts in funding and reimbursments
Biogen chief executive George Scangos (company photo)
CAMBRIDGE -- The top executive of Biogen Idec Inc. said Thursday that the state’s drug makers are producing breakthrough treatments for conditions ranging from multiple sclerosis to hepatitis C to hemophilia. But he warned future innovation is threatened by federal funding cuts for basic research and payments that don’t allow companies to recover their investments. Read More
SWEETENING THE POT
How Partners HealthCare encourages employees to innovate in one word: Money
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I just got some good advice from Salesforce president Keith Block about how a large company can innovate like a startup. But there’s one strategy he forgot: cash. Partners HealthCare has started cutting $50,000 checks to employees who come up with creative new treatment ideas that could be commercially viable. The awards must be used to fund projects and are part of the health care network’s Innovation Development Grant program, unveiled Thursday. Read More
The darker side of running a startup
While struggling to build companies, some founders also quietly battle depression
(©iStock.com/ Jamie Carroll-jc_design)
Last summer, Seth Rosen, co-founder of local startup CustomMade, started to get dizzy and feel sick. He went to numerous doctors, thinking he had some sort of gastrointestinal issue. But the doctors couldn't find anything wrong. Rosen said that he became "obsessed" with figuring out what was causing his issues, to the point where he stopped eating bread products thinking he might have a gluten allergy. Ultimately, it wasn't the bread causing the problem: It was a moderate case of depression, an affliction that often goes unacknowledged and undiscussed in the startup world. Read More
Picking up speed
Wanderu hits 1 million bus trips booked on its site
From left, Wanderu cofounders Igor Bratnikov and Polina Raygorodskaya (courtesy of company)
Since coming out of beta last summer, Boston startup Wanderu has been in rapid-transit mode. Seven months ago the company raised $2.5 million and launched its Kayak-esque service for booking bus and train travel. Since then, the company has moved out of the PayPal StartTank and into its own office in Downtown Boston, grown from a staff of eight to 15, and seen an impressive increase in the usage of its service. Wanderu crossed 1 million bus trips booked by users as of last week, said cofounder and chief executive Polina Raygorodskaya. Read More
LISTEN UP
Advice from the president of the world’s most innovative company
Keith Block Headshot
Keith Block is president of San Francisco-based cloud computing giant Salesforce, which Forbes magazine has named the world’s most innovative company three years running. I guarantee there are some local firms that would claim to be the rightful holder of that title but, still, he’s the kind of guy you want to listen to. Read More
Open doors
Acquia's Dries Buytaert: It's open-source software that'll eat the world
Acquia cofounder and chief technology officer Dries Buytaert (courtesy of company)
Expect a larger portion of software innovation to come from the world of open source in the future, says Dries Buytaert, original creator of Drupal and co-founder of Acquia. While open source once drew its appeal from being free, now it’s the quality of the software projects — which draw on the skills of huge numbers of contributors — that attracts businesses and developers to use it, he said. Read More
R.I.P. Passwords?
Will stealthy Certus let you forget all your passwords?
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How is this for a fantasy come true: never having to remember — or reset — another password? A stealthy startup with employees in Boston and San Francisco is developing a technology that would use an app on your smartphone to make the act of logging into a website not only less frustrating, but more secure. Certus Technology Systems has already raised about $375,000 in seed funding from individual investors, and is conducting its first pilot test with a financial services customer now. Read More